Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 16th Jan 2011 13:52 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones A mini-tempest has been raging across the web with anger at Mozilla for removing the RSS icon from the Firefox 4 toolbar by default (and moving it to the bookmarks menu). This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, and I had avoided writing about it on OSNews since the recent furore is often cited to have begun around a personal blog post I wrote, but now things have come to an impasse: "No matter how loudly you shout, what you see in the beta with regard to the feed auto-discovery button is what will ship in Firefox 4". When Mozilla can say they are open to input, but refuse to change in the face of near universal disagreement, we all lose, not just me.
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I can see both sides of this discussion, but I can't really see why it's blown up into such a firestorm.

The RSS icon is useful because it shows you immediately when a site has an RSS feed available, and simultaneously gives you a one-click way of getting to it.

I've used this icon to add the OSNews feed and a bunch of others to my toolbar, and I refer to them daily.

However, I only ever needed to actually click on any of those icons once. Now that I have them all in my toolbar, I don't need the RSS icon. This is why it gets very little usage.

I don't really see that moving it out to the menus is going to hurt anyone. The functionality is still available, just a bit more hidden. But if I'm on a site which I consider useful enough to subscribe to the feed, then I'll likely be happy enough to spend those extra few seconds finding the menu option instead of the current button, especially since it would be a one-off event.

In any case, all the RSS button does is flag up that a site has an RSS link on the page anyway. The link is already there for you to click on in the body of the page. So just find it there if the menu option isn't accessible enough for you. In fact, in some cases there's multiple feeds, and in this case the RSS button isn't much use because it only applies to one, and it may not pick the one you want.

So yes, it's a nice feature. I don't think it's that nice that it's worth the kind of flame-warring that's been going on, but it is nice to have.

If Mozilla are determined not to keep it, fair enough. It's their software, and they've clearly put a lot of work into the decision. But it would surely be a good idea to make it a configurable option so that those who are absolutely unpersuadable can have their way. (Or perhaps they have?)

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